Some facts about pain

I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge
hosted by Two Writing Teachers

My whole life, I’ve had a desire to somehow measure physical pain in a uniform way. Like so many other important human things, pain is on the inside of us, not the outside. Maybe sometimes we can see the cause of the pain, like a cut or a swollen foot. But the pain itself is just impulses running through nerves and brains, right?

Then there’s the problem that not only can’t we see the pain, we also can’t determine its strength relative to the pain of others. Like, what hurts more, my mosquito bite or your ant bite? I would just leave this tagged as one of life’s imponderables, but my screwed-up mind feels like it really needs to know. It needs to know because, without external evidence that someone else’s pain is actually less, some secret part of me thinks I don’t get to complain about my own.

I never said this was healthy!

Not sure if this is because I am Texan (so tough!), because I was a gymnast (don’t cry in here!), because I have spent a lot of time dissociated from my body (like a brain in a vat), or because my body does seem to have some kind of weird pain disconnect (didn’t realize that bone was broken for days!)

Is it a superpower? A curse? Or just weird?

One thought on “Some facts about pain

  1. I relate to this. I once sewed my finger and went two weeks with the thread coming out of my nail (in denial) that the needle was still in my finger. The line about “like a brain in a vat” is funny. It made me think of Sir Ken Robinson’s amazing talk about “Do Schools Kill Creativity.” I’m sure you’ve probably heard this. He says academics view their bodies as a way to get to meetings. And the whole academy privileges everything from the neck up… I like the way you end with questions. You leave me contemplating pain and the mind/body splits I’ve been socialized to feel in my family, in school, and as an academic.

Leave a Reply